Higher Education Act of 1965
The Higher Education Act of 1965 (Pub. L. No. 89-329) (the "HEA") was legislation signed into United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 law on November 8, 1965, as part of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society
Great Society
The Great Society was a set of domestic programs in the United States promoted by President Lyndon B. Johnson and fellow Democrats in Congress in the 1960s. Two main goals of the Great Society social reforms were the elimination of poverty and racial injustice...

 domestic agenda. Johnson chose Texas State University–San Marcos
Texas State University–San Marcos
Texas State University–San Marcos is a doctoral-granting university located in San Marcos, Texas...

 as the signing site. The law was intended “to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education.” It increased federal money given to universities, created scholarships, gave low-interest loans for students, and established a National Teachers Corps. The "financial assistance for students" is covered in Title IV
Title IV
Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 covers the administration of the United States federal student financial aid programs....

 of the HEA.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 was reauthorized in 1968, 1971, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1986, 1992, 1998, and 2008. Current authorization for the programs in the Higher Education Act expires at the end of 2013. Before each
reauthorization, Congress amends additional programs, changes the language and policies of existing programs,
or makes other changes.

Changes in 1998

The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs
Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs
Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs is a set of scholarship and outreach programs in the United States of America...

 (GEAR UP) was first authorized under the Higher Education Amendments of 1998. Also in the amendments of 1998 is the Aid Elimination Provision, which prevents students with drug charges from receiving federal aid for colleges and universities. This is where question 31 on the FAFSA forms originates. The question asks whether the student has ever been convicted of a drug crime
Drug-Related Crime
In the United States, Illegal drugs are related to crime in multiple ways. Most directly, it is a crime to use, possess, manufacture, or distribute drugs classified as having a potential for abuse...

 while receiving federal financial aid. This statutory provision was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:* Eastern District of Arkansas* Western District of Arkansas...

 in the face of a constitutional challenge by the ACLU in the case of Students for Sensible Drug Policy v. Spellings.

Changes in 2003

In 2003, many of the parts of the Higher Education Act were set to expire. To be more effective, different minority groups came together to ask for these changes. They called themselves the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education. This group was made up of “the American Indian Higher Education Consortium
American Indian Higher Education Consortium
The American Indian Higher Education Consortium was established in 1972, in order to represent the interests of the newly developed tribal colleges, which are controlled and operated by American Indian nations...

, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, an advocacy group for historically black colleges and universities
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Historically black colleges and universities are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before 1964 with the intention of serving the black community....

, [and they] presented their joint recommendations for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.” These groups found that by coming together, they could help all minority groups achieve the same goals.
The goals of the Alliance were to help minority students enter fields where they were underrepresented and to give incentives to minorities to enter these programs. These incentives included more lenience on loan collection and full government funding for minority education. The Alliance also advocated funding minorities in graduate programs. Just like with undergraduate programs, the Alliance called for the government to create funding for students in the graduate programs of universities serving the minority population. Yet, the Alliance was also asking for funds to help its institutions, as well as its students. There was a call for the federal government to give more funding to help keep these institutions up-to-date, and their programs current. Again, to keep students attending these universities, and to prepare these students for the real world, the Alliance was asking for the government’s help to make sure that they were on the same education level as other colleges and universities.

Even though the Alliance was heard, with its request for change in the Higher Education Act, it did not mean that change happened. In 2003, the request for increasing the amount offered in a Pell Grant
Pell Grant
A Pell Grant is money the federal government provides for students who need it to pay for college. Federal Pell Grants are limited to students with financial need, who have not earned their first bachelor's degree or who are not enrolled in certain post-baccalaureate programs, through participating...

, to better cover a student’s expenses, was denied by the Senate. Still, other issues were corrected. There was a section passed, by the House, that did allow more funds to go to institutions, in order to keep them current; and a grace period for colleges asking for more loans was eliminated. So, if more funding were needed, minority institutions would not have to wait.

2008 reauthorization

With the changes proposed in 2003, the actual Higher Education Act was not reauthorized. Instead, many of its sections were renewed, with little radical change. Numerous extensions have followed, with the most recent extension lasting through August 15, 2008. The Senate passed an HEA reauthorization bill in July 2007, as did the House of Representatives in February 2008.

On August 14, 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) (HEOA) was enacted. It reauthorized the amended version of the Higher Education Act of 1965. This act made major changes in student loan discharges for disabled people. Previously, to qualify for a discharge, a disabled person could have no income. This has been changed to a no "substantial gainful activity" test, which is the same standard used by the Social Security Administration
Social Security Administration
The United States Social Security Administration is an independent agency of the United States federal government that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivors' benefits...

 in determining eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance is a payroll tax-funded, federal insurance program of the United States government. It is managed by the Social Security Administration and is designed to provide income supplements to people who are physically restricted in their ability to be employed...

(SSDI). The changes took effect on July 1, 2010.

Additionally, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRA), a budget reconciliation bill signed into law in September 2007, made significant changes to federal financial aid programs included in HEA. In addition to increasing the maximum Pell grant award and reducing interest rates on subsidized student loans, this bill capped loan repayment at 15 percent of an individual’s discretionary income, raised the income protection allowance, enacted loan forgiveness for public servants in the Direct Loan program, set publicly funded student loans to fixed rates from variable rate loans, and took actions to address problematic practices in the lending industry. Most CCRA provisions took effect on October 1, 2007.

The law for the first time also required post-secondary institutions be more transparent about costs and required the nearly 7,000 post-secondary institutions that receive federal financial aid funds (Title IV) to post net price calculators on their Web sites by October 29, 2011.

As defined in HEOA, the net price calculator’s purpose is “…to help current and prospective students, families, and other consumers estimate the individual net price of an institution of higher education for a student. The [net price] calculator shall be developed in a manner that enables current and prospective students, families, and consumers to determine an estimate of a current or prospective student’s individual net price at a particular institution.”

The law defines "estimated net price" as the difference between an institution’s average total Price of Attendance (the sum of tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other expenses including personal expenses and transportation for a first-time, full-time undergraduate students who receive aid) and the institution’s median need- and merit-based grant aid awarded.

Elise Miller, program director for the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), stated the idea behind the requirement: "We just want to break down the myth of sticker price and get beyond it. This is to give students some indication that they will not [necessarily] be paying that full price."

The template was developed based on the suggestions of the IPEDS’ Technical Review Panel (TRP), which met on January 27–28, 2009, and included 58 individuals representing federal and state governments, postsecondary institutions from all sectors, association representatives, and template contractors. Mary Sapp, Ph.D., assistant vice president for planning and institutional research at the University of Miami, served as the panel’s chair. She described the mandate’s goal thus: “to provide prospective and current undergraduate students with some insight into the difference between an institution’s sticker price and the price they will end up paying.”

The TRP faced the difficult challenge of creating one tool that could be used by a wide variety of institutions – from small, for-profit career schools to major research universities – while balancing simplicity for users.

To meet the requirement, post-secondary institutions may choose either a basic template developed by the U.S. Department of Education or an alternate net price calculator that offers at least the minimum elements required by law.

Albright College of Reading, Pennsylvania, is one of the first institutions to post a sophisticated net-price calculator after the law went into effect. https://albright.studentaidestimator.com

As part of its cost-transparency measures, HEOA of 2008 requires also on the College Navigator Web site a report giving the average institutional net price of attendance for first-time, full-time students who receive financial aid. This also forms the basis for transparency lists; a report on the College Navigator Web site the institutional net price of attendance for Title IV aid recipients by income categories; and for the U.S. Department of Education to develop a multi-year tuition and required-fees calculator for undergraduate programs for the College Navigator Web site.

Additionally, the 2008 HEOA reauthorization stated that notwithstanding any provisions in the act, a student may use a fee-based preparer by telephone or online to complete a federal student aid application (FAFSA). While there had been no regulation preventing fee-based FAFSA preparation in the past, the HEOA 2008 reauthorization formalized in the law the option to get professional assistance preparing this form, which in 2009-2010 consisted of more than 130 income, asset, and dependency questions


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